For the month of October we’ll be hearing from musicians about the band that got them into music. For the first installment, we caught up with Dan Clermont of Set It Off! Check SIO on the “Hello My Name Is” tour with City Lights this fall!

It was early August of 2004. I was a sophomore at Tarpon Springs High School and school had been in session just under a week at this point. What did I do with the first Friday of the year? Skipped school and went to this music festival called the Vans Warped Tour that all of my friends had been raving about throughout the entire summer. I had never been, let alone heard of it, up until June of that year, and what the big deal about was about this festival was that apparently it had multiple stages with over 30 bands playing through out the day. Not going to lie, I was definitely a wee bit scared because…I had never been to a concert before. Luckily I had two of my closest friends with me, Ben Datin and Cody Carson, who seemed to be what some would call ‘seasoned concertgoers’. But nothing positive that anyone told me could get the vicious horror stories I had heard about rock concerts out of my head (people getting trampled in mosh pits or getting crushed by the crowds pushing into the barricades between the stage and crowd). I had no clue what to expect or how to prepare.

So we arrived at Vinoy Park in downtown St.Pete and go through the security check and as I walked through the gate I closed my eyes, took a deep breathe, and said softly to myself, “Here we go” – when I opened my eyes all I saw is this giant field of nothing but loud intense music and people running around, wearing nothing but their bathing suits and a maybe a pair of shorts if you’re lucky. I guess it’s what you would call a punk rock utopia. I had quickly learned that if I wanted to have any idea of who was playing where there was one place to go for that and that was the giant blow up board that sat right behind the two main stages and contained the set times of all of the bands and what stages they were playing. Me being new to this whole scene in general, there were maybe two bands on there that I had heard of, and one of them being Senses Fail.

Senses Fail was set to play on one of the main stages later in the day, so by the time they were setting up I was patiently waiting there but sore from head to toe, covered in dirt and sweat, and had managed to lose my shirt somehow. I could barely stand and I was so exhausted, yet I had no intention of moving from this spot. I had waited all day in this brutally hot sun to see this band and nobody was going to take that from me. At one point, the crowd had gone quiet and as I’m staring at the stage impatiently waiting for the band to come out and play, this energy started overtaking me and out came the drummer where he sat on his throne and threw his hands up with an immediate roar from the crowd as their response. I looked around to see everyone’s hands up and cheering as the other members made their entrances and kicked into the first song. Before I knew it, I had my fist in the air, screaming the lyrics at the top of my lungs. I felt like I truly belonged there in that crowd with all those people, for the first time that day. And I knew right there, that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be in a band…Senses Fail was the band that changed everything.

Written by Catherine Powell

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